How Kyra Sedgwick Built a ‘Formidable Antagonist’ in ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ Season 2 (Video)

The actress created a detailed backstory that enriched the character interactions

Kyra Sedgwick crafted a detailed backstory for her character Aunt Julia, who catalyzes the plot for Season 2 of “The Summer I Turned Pretty.”

Julia is Susannah’s half-sister who inherits the Cousins Beach house after Susannah (Rachel Blanchard) dies between the first and second seasons of the show. To thwart Julia’s sale of the house, Susannah’s son Conrad goes missing. His brother Jeremiah and their joint love interest Belly join in to make the sale a living hell.

“It was good to be somebody who comes in and affects change. That’s a great character to play. Without her there wouldn’t be a plot this season,” Sedgwick told TheWrap over the phone before the SAG-AFTRA strike began. “I think she is a formidable antagonist because I think that she feels right and dug into her side. She has a different experience in that house, and I think that to a degree, there’s a way in which everyone learns to understand that like, it wasn’t all perfect with Susannah. There were things that happened that made her sister feel unsafe, and so I just think there’s something to that, that we’re never what we seem completely.”

The backstory that Sedgwick ran by co-showrunners Jenny Han and Sarah Kucserka involved Julia’s parents purchasing the house together before their relationship fell apart and their divorce led to Julia’s father’s remarriage to Susannah’s mother.

“This sort of very special place that was [Julia’s] haven turned into this really ugly mess. She moved to Boston with her mom, and my father married another woman and ended up having a kid,” Sedgwick said. “I would still have to go on the weekends as the child was growing up, to be with them as they became more of a family, I felt more of a stranger in that house, and Rachel’s character was to me — She was just one of those people that just lit up a room as she is — And I was one of those kids for whom life was just harder a more complicated, difficult personality.”

The seventh episode of Season 2 contains a conversation between Belly’s mother Laurel (Jackie Chung) and Aunt Julia about Julia’s childhood memories. Sedgwick elaborated on the trauma her character carries with her as well.

“Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Was it the fact that her dad left and [Julia] had to move to the city with her mom and then every time she would go back there on the weekends, they didn’t want her around?” she said. “That became clearer and clearer as she got older and older. By the time she was a teenager, she overheard them saying that she was such a difficult sourpuss. ‘We don’t even want her around,’ and it just broke her.”

One flashback scene gives a glimpse of Susannah and Julia’s relationship. The sisters chat happily at Christmastime as they fill their kids’ stockings, but the question of the Cousins Beach house after their father’s death causes a rift in their conversation.

“You can see how they want so much to be close, but you can also see how there’s this like, there’s this real wedge of memory between them. [Susannah] remembers that her dad was the perfect guy, and I remember that my dad really let me down profoundly,” Sedgwick said. And I think that often we can come from the same family and have a different experience of our childhood in a way that I think that is a really good example of.”

At the end of episode 7, Belly’s mom Laurel (Jackie Chung) and Julia chat, come to an understanding and find they have some things in common in how they deal with their grief. They also bond over the loss of Susannah.

“I think what’s interesting about Julia is that the way she manifests grief is by getting mad, you know, which is I think something that that is an easier emotion for most of us to get to rather than the grief and I think that she has a change in the season but I think she starts with a lot of like her dukes up. That’s how she handles her grief.”

Episodes of “The Summer I Turned Pretty” are streaming on Prime Video now.